California based group of computer entrepreneurs and futurists are
building a gigantic clock that would last at least 10,000 years.
The clock would tick once a year and chime just once a century.
The Supercomputer designer, Daniel Hillis, came up with the idea.
He calls it the "world's slowest computer". Steward
Brand, the group's leader, wrote The Whole Earth Catalog in the
1960's about self-sufficiency and hopes that his clock will be
just that, self-sufficient and a survivor.
group working on the clock hopes that this solar powered
"millennium clock" will be came a cultural icon. It is
meant to inspire people to look beyond their everyday lives and
short-term projects and consider man's long-term responsibilities
for our planet.
group picked the ridge of limestone cliffs in the Snake Range of
eastern Nevada as the site for the clock. The ridge is 11,600 some
feet high. Their first step will be to have miners excavate a vast
cavern in the rock to hold and protect this monumental timepiece.
Two thousand feet of limestone will become the roof of the clock.
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nonprofit foundation called Long Now Foundation has been set up to
direct the project. It is spending $500,000 on an 8 foot tall
prototype of the clock. The finished version would stand 8 stories
high and end of costing tens of millions of dollars. The 80 acres
of light on Mount Washington cost about $140,000 and is being
called Long Mountain..
clock's face will be designed to show how the years would be
designated with five digits, such as 01999. Even the group's
website and publications list the year of all dates with the
5-digit designation. So that dates would read March 1, 02000
rather than March 1, 2000.
clock time span of 10,000 years was selected because "that is
the size of civilization so far," Steward Brand explained.
The Clock of the Long Now will be featured in his new book by that
title. He explains the selection of the location by saying that
the desert dryness and the remoteness would help to preserve the
one of the photos of the prototype of the Long Now or Y10K clock.
The working model was to be finished in time to chime at midnight
when 1999 turns to 2000.
photos and information visit the Long
Now Foundation's website. An article by Danny
Hillis tells more about his vision for the clock.